Our Long Pour: “Queen of the Damned”

Oh, have I been waiting for this one. I love hibiscus, and this calls for a homemade hibiscus cordial that – while very easy – takes some planning ahead.

At least a day before making the drink, assemble your cordial ingredients. If you’re familiar with the Mexican drink agua de jamaica, you already know what hibiscus flowers taste like. And it’s a great idea to buy them in bulk at a Latin grocer, because getting them in teabags as “hibiscus tea” is orders of magnitude more expensive.

Alongside 1 oz of the flor de jamaica, you’ll need the peeled (not grated) zest of a lemon, a clove, a stick of cinnamon, 3 allspice berries, 1/2 oz of peeled, sliced ginger, 1.5C sugar and 4C of water. Bring all of this to a simmer, steep it overnight, strain and chill it.

From there on, it’s easy:

  • 1½ oz. rye whiskey (use a 40% rye… I used a 50% one and the drink was out of whack until David suggested we add a bit of water)
  • ½ oz. Cognac
  • ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. hibiscus cordial
  • ¼ oz. Amaro Nonino (again: you did buy Amaro Nonino like I asked you to, right?)

Shake, strain over ice, and garnish with a lime wheel and a mint plouche (new favourite word… it encompasses louche, while “sprig” contains “prig.”)

This is a huuuuuge winner. You have the bright, tropical hibiscus and lime playing off against the rye, cognac and warm spices, and the Nonino bringing it a bitter finish. Well worth planning ahead for!

Adapted from a recipe in Imbibe.

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